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What the TPP Could Mean for Internet Users

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Internet Users Again Shut Out of Secret TPP Negotiations

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a treaty that will affect countries from New Zealand and Peru to the United States. The TPP will have reduced or eliminated tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers like import limits. While many understand that it will affect trade goods like agricultural exports, cars and machinery, it will also impact others. Let’s look at what the TPP could mean for internet users.

Digital Rights

The impact of intellectual property rights on the production of generic drugs received more attention than the likely impact on digital rights. The first and foremost impact is how the TPP takes the worst aspects of the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DCMA. It would take those rules and apply them to all treaty signatories. Another long-term issue is how the treaty locks in the DCMA rules; that prevents relaxing of the terms of the DCMA at a later date. That is separate from concerns regarding how the digital rights protection provisions could be used to suppress freedom of speech in countries that lack a doctrine of fair use and First Amendment.

Let’s look at how these changes could affect anyone, anywhere. If there is an IP dispute, the songs and e-books you have downloaded could be wiped from your device, and you may not receive a refund. Platforms can require you to use only their software to download digital libraries of books, movies and songs, and you could be legally required to use only that software for such downloads. Fail to maintain their software or even pay their regular licensing fees, and you could lose access to the content you’ve already purchased.

The Corporatization of IP Rights

The TPP has received negative press in the United States because it would bind the US to obey majority votes that disproportionately affect the U.S., though they may vote against it. Many other nations were more concerned about how decision-making favors corporations over the public. The TPP provisions on intellectual property protections that favor corporations are all binding. In contrast, the public interest provisions are non-binding, and they can be watered-down or repealed in later votes. The very dense legal jargon of the TPP and associated documents by its very nature limit the options of the general public and favors big businesses.

The Increased Legal Complications

Another issue with the TPP is how it nearly shuts down use of intellectual property where you cannot determine IP rights. For example, you may not be able to legally use content where the rights holder is deceased, unknown or uncertain. The process of determining ownership of orphan works becomes complicated and it is legally risky to use such work.

The Potential Criminal Aspect

The TPP could lead to criminal fines for mechanics that alter software or replace it with something else on cars, tractors and IoT devices. Tinkering with the software on these devices without permission or modifying it could be criminal. A partial solution is buying IoT compatible devices that plug and play with almost any smart home network like those available at https://temperaturesensei.com/best-indoor-outdoor-thermometers/. Another would be adopting open source software.

The TPP makes it very easy to file fake content take-down notices, and it requires internet service providers to shut down internet access for those accused of severe violations of the law.

The TPP takes some of the worst intellectual property laws on the planet and makes them global. It entrenches moneyed corporations while limiting options and rights for general